APJ Kalam suggests Dhaka, Delhi join hands for green economySource: The Daily Star
Former Indian president APJ Abdul Kalam on Thursday expressed his "dreams" of enhanced Bangladesh- India ties for promoting green economy identifying "jute" to be a binding factor for the joint campaign to replace synthetics. "I have a dream India and Bangladesh will join hands to replace plastics by jute products (globally)," he said as he delivered a lecture sharing his ideas of comprehensive rural development coinciding with the 33rd founding anniversary celebrations of Dhaka-based Centre on Integrated Rural Development for Asia and the Pacific (Cirdap). Kalam asked the 15-nation inter-government organisation to take initiatives for promotion of the natural fibre for green economy and outlined his model of rural development under the framework of his Provision of Urban Amenities in Rural Areas (PURA), an institutional campaign. The former Indian president also identified "water resource" to be another crucial area of bilateral cooperation saying the scarce resource being shared by the two countries through common rivers was being wasted largely due to "inefficient management". Kalam, a nuclear scientist who has been dedicating his efforts for the past 10 years to the rural development, also outlined a detailed design for implementing his PURA model in Bangladesh's Khulna region. The model suggests a holistic approach for development of rural neighbourhoods providing livelihood opportunities and urban amenities to villages under private-public partnership which is run by local government bodies at the grassroots. Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives Minister Syed Ashraful Islam, state minister for the ministry Jahangir Kabir Nanak joined the discourse at the Cirdap auditorium while leading economists, sociologists, foreign relation experts and diplomats attended. Kalam named specific resources of South Asian and Asia Pacific countries, identified their domestic and regional challenges and suggested ways for their networking and enhanced cooperation. Later joining a brief press conference, Kalam said despite extreme rivalry between nuclear proliferation nations, he expected South Asia to emerge as an integrated region like the European Union in next 10 year. "I think South Asia will emerge as an integrated region in next 10 years" discarding their rivalry following footsteps of the EU and ASEAN nations. Kalam referred to his eyewitnesses' experience of the integrity of the European nations which they developed despite their centuries-long enmity. Asked if he had had any "guilty feeling" for his pivotal role in nuclear armament of India as he now spearheads campaigns for regional peace and enhanced cooperation, Kalam defended his works saying it was then important for regional power balance. "You see, big nations around India have had their nuclear weapons at that time, and it was important for India to develop ballistic missiles to make a balance . . . it also did not cost high," he said as asked about the impact of the proliferation on the Indian economy.
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